Wednesday, April 22, 2015


April is National Poetry Month! The rain soaked grass rests in spring glory. The sun's hand on my head, a breeze wraps its arm around my shoulder, reminds me why I live here—enough! 

Sometimes you just can’t force it. But it is beautiful today.

 April 25th The Open Door  Women’s Prison and Re-Entry Ministry is having its 6th Annual motorcycle fundraiser ride, Chili~Hogs, sponsored by the Water’s Edge Riders. Not a motorcyclist myself, I appreciate the WER’s commitment to prison ministry.

At the end of the run (University UMC, 3501 Patrick St., Lake Charles) The Open Door will serve chili dogs from Noon until 2 PM. As a faith-based community organization over twenty churches are represented in the people participating to make this fundraiser a success. It’s always great fun and everyone (Including YOU!) are welcome to lunch, and listen to live gospel/bluegrass music with Charles Manuel and Friends. 

I know it’s a commercial, but as president of The Open Door, it’s what I do. Hope you’ll come pass a good time with us and hear some of the fabulous testimonies from women who are turning their lives around.  If you’d like to know more about our prison ministry check out my column, Beyond the Wire in the Voice of Southwest Louisiana. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Couldn't Keep It To Myself

Mid April. Spring is sprung in Southwest Louisiana. Socked in with rain. The river runs brown with mud, but the azalea's persist; puddles of color blossom beneath mammoth bushes.

It's been a few months since my last post, and I apologize. Time restraints, plus my inner writer's voice, "Who wants to read what I have to say?" have kept me away. But this past weekend, invigorated by the Jambalaya Writer's Conference in Houma, Louisiana, I have found my voice anew. I want to thank the keynote speaker, Wally Lamb, for part of my recovery, and my good friends of the Bayou Writers Group from Lake Charles, LA who never cease to "Encourage, Educate, and Inspire" me whenever we get together.

A fan of faith not fate, I feel it is no accident; I signed up in February for the Jambalaya conference completely oblivious that Wally Lamb, too, shares my passion for women's prison ministry.

A privilege to talk with him, I purchased two anthologies he has edited from the women at York Correctional Institute (Connecticut), where Wally has co-facilitated a writing workshop for the past sixteen years. 

In the book, Can't Keep It to Myself, Wally Lamb's acknowledgement, filled with insight and grace, accompanies the true stories of incarcerated women who, as Dr. Lamb states, "are 'tough cookies' not because of their crimes but because they will neither be defeated nor silenced." 

Honest with the reader and themselves, the women pour out their private and painful experiences and the poor choices they've made. In this process of healing, they give us the opportunity not to fear the incarcerated, but see them as human beings on a common journey with the rest of us. 

Still searching for my place in the universe jigsaw, I just can't keep this book to myself. I will continue to read and share my musings about prison ministry and Wally Lamb, author, educator, and volunteer.